The trucking industry lost one of its finest last Friday, June 21st, with the passing of Irwin L. Groff, 78, of Lititz, PA, although he spent most of his life living in New Holland. He passed away following a lengthy illness at Brethren Village.
Irvie was a dear friend of mine and one of the best long haul truckers to ever own a big rig. I often referred to him as Mr. Chairman, because he served as chairman of the non-profit Independent Truckers Association for several years and I had the honor of serving on the board with him.
Irvie was an independent trucker for 46 years, retiring in 2006. He had driven over 5 million millions. I want to say they were accident free, but it seems there was a minor accident at one time along the way.
He was an owner operator, but I remember him more as an independent trucker, because he was truly independent. Not only did he have his own operating authority allowing him to work directly with shippers, but he was a business man.
I first met Irvie in 1980 at a trucking convention. Over the following years we attended many truck shows and conventions together. He knew equipment inside and out and I learned so much from him.
Irvie kept detailed records of his operating costs and how much net profit was there. He had a formula for doing it and never operated a year in the red.
Irvie was a smart, caring, loving decent human being and devoted family man. He was a mentor to younger drivers.
Irvie taught Sunday School for 26 years, was a member of Transport for Christ, and managed the Chicken BBQ for the Brethern Disaster Relief auction for several years. He also enjoyed customizing Smith-Miller toy trucks in his retirement.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, June 26 at 10 am at Conestoga Church of the Brethren, 141 E. Main St., Leola, PA. Interment will be in the Bareville Cemetery. Viewing will be held on Tuesday from 6-8 pm and on Wednesday from 9-10 am at the Church. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Transport for Christ, www.transportforchrist.org. To send the family online condolences visit us at www.groffeckenroth.com. Arrangements by Groff-High Funeral Home, New Holland.
Deepest sympathies to his wife Joyce and other family members. RIP Irvie. You will be missed.